Rethinking medical school

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Metzger earned his doctorate in anatomical sciences from SUNY Stony Brook, with a focus on medical education. “Teaching was really more of my passion,” he said.

Metzger was attracted to teaching at Hofstra because it presented a rare opportunity to create a school’s curriculum from scratch. Hofstra officials scoured the country, looking at leading medical schools’ best teaching practices, adopting what worked and abandoning what did not. What evolved, Metzger said, was an “integrated curriculum” that crossed disciplines. For their basic science studies, students do not learn anatomy (the study of the human body), physiology (the student of human systems, such as the circulatory system) and pathology (the study and diagnosis of disease) independently of one another. Rather, they study them together, enabling them to draw connections between the body, its systems and disease.

At Hofstra, every student is certified as an emergency medical technician and must do a rotation aboard a North Shore-LIJ ambulance, Metzger said. The experience, he said, gives many students their first taste of field medicine and prepares them to perform in a high-pressure environment.

Hofstra students start to see patients in North Shore-LIJ clinics and hospitals in their first year. North Shore-LIJ, among the nation’s top-rated health systems, allows Hofstra students to study and work with many of the country’s best doctors, Metzger said.

“There is no other curriculum that is like ours,” he said.

What the students say

Kevin Smith, 25, of Carle Place, recently finished his first year at Hofstra’s medical school. Before enrolling at Hofstra, he earned his bachelor’s from the University of Pennsylvania, completed a master’s in physiology at Georgetown and conducted prostate cancer research at the prestigious Feinstein Institute in Manhasset, the research arm of the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

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